April 12, 2021

Volume XI, Number 102

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April 09, 2021

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Maine Climate Council Releases Final Climate Action Plan

On December 1, 2020, the Maine Climate Council released its final report, Maine Won’t Wait, A Four-Year Plan for Climate Action (the “Climate Plan”).

In June 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed legislation creating the Maine Climate Council, and tasked it with developing this four-year Climate Plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. The Climate Plan sets forth four goals: 1) Reduce Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions, 2) avoid the impacts and costs of inaction, 3) foster economic opportunity and prosperity, and 4) advance equity through Maine’s climate response.

To achieve these goals, the Maine Climate Council developed eight targeted strategies. Some of those strategies include:

  • Modernizing the transportation sector by accelerating the transition to electric vehicle and increasing fuel efficiency and use of alternative fuels

  • Modernizing Maine’s buildings by transitioning to cleaner heating and cooling systems and promoting climate-friendly building products

  • Protecting Maine’s natural resource industries and growing a clean energy economy by focusing on growing Maine’s forest products industry and using climate-related infrastructure projects to stimulate economic recovery

  • Protecting Maine’s environment and working lands and waters by promoting natural climate solutions and increasing carbon sequestration

Each climate strategy is broken down into more specific actions that are assigned to various lead state agencies that will be responsible for implementing these actions. For example, the implementation of the climate strategy targeted for the energy sector is as follows:

Strategy C: Reduce Carbon Emissions in Maine’s Energy and Industrial Sectors through Clean Energy Innovation

Action Area

Outcomes

Lead Agency

Additional Information

1. Ensure adequate affordable clean energy supply

Achieve, by 2030, an electricity grid where 80% of Maine’s usage comes from renewable generation.

Governor’s Energy Office; Public Utilities Commission

Utilization and expansion of existing programs, as well as development of new initiatives.

Set achievable targets for cost-effective deployment of technologies such as offshore wind, distributed generation, and energy storage, and outline the policies, including opportunities for pilot initiatives, necessary to achieve these results.

Governor’s Energy Office

Utilization and expansion of existing programs, as well as development of new initiatives.

2. Initiate a stakeholder process to transform Maine’s electric power sector

Establish a comprehensive stakeholder process in 2021 to examine the transformation of Maine’s electric sector and facilitate other recommendations of the Maine Climate Council.

Governor’s Energy Office; Maine Public Utilities Commission; Office of the Public Advocate; Efficiency Maine Trust; stakeholders

New

3. Accelerate emissions reductions of industrial uses and processes

Launch an Industrial Task Force to collaboratively partner with industry and stakeholders to consider innovations and incentives to manage industrial emissions through 2030 and reduce total emissions by 2050.

Efficiency Maine Trust; Governor’s Energy Office; Maine Department of Environmental Protection

New

4. Encourage highly efficient Combined Heat and Power facilities

Analyze policies, including the potential for long-term contracts, needed to advance new highly-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) production facilities that achieve significant net greenhouse gas reductions

Maine Public Utilities Commission

New analysis; existing authority at the PUC

Additional climate strategies and detailed outcomes of each strategy can be found in the Climate Plan.

While this is the first Climate Plan, the work will be ongoing as the Maine Climate Council is charged with updating the plan every four years. Progress on climate strategies and action items will be monitored quarterly by the Maine Climate Council and working groups. The specific metrics that will be used for evaluating progress toward these climate mitigation and adaptation goals are outlined in the Climate Plan, as well as near-term and long-term funding and financing options for achieving those goals.

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©2021 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 337
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About this Author

Sarah Tracy Energy Generation Attorney
Partner

Sarah advises energy generation facilities and industrial and large commercial energy users with respect to energy and regulatory issues and due diligence matters.  Sarah also represents electric, natural gas, and telecommunications utilities before state regulatory entities. 

Sarah assists energy project owners and developers with due diligence in connection with energy infrastructure acquisitions and negotiates key energy agreements, including power purchase agreements, natural gas supply agreements and firm gas transportation agreements, and renewable energy credit purchase and...

207-791-1299
Kayla Grant  energy regulatory attorney Portland ME
Associate

Kayla Grant is an experienced energy regulatory attorney with a strong interest in energy policy and regulation. Kayla capitalizes on her prior experience as an attorney advisor to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) administrative law judges to advocate for clients in utility ratemaking and electric transmission matters. This includes advising clients on issues related to FERC jurisdiction, cost-of-service and formula transmission rates, electric utility tariffs, and RTO/ISO markets. Kayla also assists clients with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Reliability...

207-791-1228
Lisa Gilbreath, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer
Associate

Lisa Gilbreath is an associate in the Environmental & Land Use and Energy Infrastructure Development, Acquisition & Financing practice groups. Lisa works on a wide variety of environmental and energy matters, offering clients strategic advice in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings.

In her environmental practice, Lisa assists clients with numerous issues including energy project development permitting, energy and environmental litigation, air quality legislative and regulatory activities, air quality enforcement, hazardous substances and...

(207) 791-1397
Brian M. Rayback, Pierce Atwood, environmental regulatory lawyer
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Brian Rayback focuses his practice on environmental and land use law, with expertise in all aspects of water, air, natural resources, solid waste, and zoning regulation.

Brian provides cost-effective, strategic advice on project permitting, enforcement matters, appeals of agency decisions, regulatory compliance, and legislative issues for property developers and owners, trade associations, utilities, construction companies, and industrial and manufacturing facilities. He regularly appears before federal, state, and local boards and agencies to assist clients in...

(207) 791-1188
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